Germany rolls out world's first hydrogen train

Germany on September 17 rolled out the world's first hydrogen-powered train, signalling the start of a push to challenge the might of polluting diesel trains with costlier but more eco-friendly technology. Two bright blue Coradia iLint trains, built by French TGV-maker Alstom, began running a 100-kilometre (62-mile) route between the towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany -- a stretch normally plied by diesel trains. "The world's first hydrogen train is entering into commercial service and is ready for serial production," Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge said at an unveiling ceremony in Bremervoerde, the station where the trains will be refuelled with hydrogen. Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen, a process that leaves steam and water as the only emissions.

Killer storm stalks US

Catastrophic floods raised the threat of landslides and dam failures across the southeastern United States this past week, prolonging the agony caused by a killer hurricane that has left more than a dozen people dead and caused billions of dollars in damage. Downgraded to a tropical depression, Florence crept over South and North Carolina, dumping heavy rains on already flood-swollen river basins that authorities warned could bring more death and destruction. The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center warned of "heavy and excessive rainfall over the next couple of days." There is an "elevated risk for landslides" in western North Carolina and southwest Virginia, as well as a danger of "catastrophic and life-threatening flash flooding" in parts of the Carolinas, it said.

Afghan, 'Bengali' immigrants to get citizenship: Pak PM

Pakistan's new premier Imran Khan has vowed to give citizenship to some Afghan refugees and Bengali immigrants, officials confirmed on September 17, granting rights to many who have lived in the country for decades. Urdu-speaking Biharis, who went to Pakistan after Bangladesh's Liberation war in 1971, are considered Bengalis there. The PM said that the identity crisis of thousands of Bengali and Afghan immigrants is pushing them to crime. "These immigrants have lived here for decades, their children were born here, but they don't have identity cards and passports," he said. The people of this deprived class can't get jobs without ID cards and passports, so our government has decided to issue them computerised national identity cards and passports, Khan said.

Manafort to cooperate in probe

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort agreed on September 14 to cooperate in the Russia collusion investigation in a plea deal that left the White House looking increasingly under siege by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Manafort, who led Trump's election operation at the height of the campaign in the middle of 2016, admitted reduced charges of conspiracy just days before he was to go on trial for money laundering, illegal lobbying and witness tampering. The surprise deal brought to seven the number of people who have pleaded guilty in cases tied to Mueller's 16 month old investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. It suggested that Mueller is getting ever closer to Trump, his family and top staff in an operation that many speculate could generate an impeachment motion against the president.

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